Elevator 0:30

While I was at Oshkosh this year, I spent lot of time inspecting the tail section of Sonex aircraft. I know there is a joke here, somewhere. Well, the thing I noticed the most was that several of them had a slight twist in the elevator. Some worse than others. While they were all flying just fine, I’d still like to try and avoid this. So today I upgraded my workbench to make it as flat as I could get it. I snugged down the 2x6s as good as I could, then added a thick slab of MDF. Flatter than plywood and easily replaceable.

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I then laid out the parts to start the Elevator and spent some time reading the plans. Sometimes I wish the plans included best practices/techniques for building a particular part.

Horizontal Stab 2:00

I’ve heard that the secret to completing a large build like this is to spend at least 5 minutes a day in the shop. Well I have some lost time to make up. I lined up the hinge to connect the elevator to the horizontal stabilizer, clamped and drilled the holes. Then I spent a lot of time up-drilling the skin. That was a lot of holes and moving the clecos got tedious. I changed hands on the pliers many times. I’m well on my way to Popeye arms. I always think the skin looks cool when you put the #30 clecos in place and before you remove the #40 clecos. Right now I only have 200 #30 and 200 #40 clecos, and I’m using every one of them. I should really order more.

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Contacted Sonex

I sent an email to Sonex tech help to let them know that I went ahead and just made up some ribs from sheet AL to fix my problem. That’s when I found out that Sonex has the SNX-Z02-04 channel they could have sent me. Well, live and learn. Apparently the  older kits were supplied with it before they produced the laser cut option.

Just to be clear my tail kit was one of the first laser cut kits supplied so I don’t expect to have these problems on the rest of the kit that I purchased this year.

Good news though, Sonex confirmed I had the skins on correctly. the straight edge of the skins for the horizontal stabilizer is the bottom and the curved edge is the top.

Time to rivet.

Horizontal Stabilizer 4:00

Well I spent most of the weekend with family, but when I got home on Sunday, I spent a few hours working on the Horizontal Stabilizer. I up drill and riveted the frame. Then deburred the skins and clecoed them on. Short summary for what was 4 hours of work.

I’m very happy with how the four home made ribs came out. The pre-drilled holes in the skin lined right down the center of the ribs. Drilling and clecoing the skin down was uneventful. I just hope I didn’t install the skins upside down. I figure if there is a way to build it backwards. I’ll do it… Then do it again. Sigh.

Fabricating T04-03 T04-04 4:00

Well the plan WAS to build this plane from a kit. Looks like I found an excuse to make some parts anyways. I didn’t like the idea of using rivet washers or replacing a perfectly serviceable completed forward spar held in place with almost 30 rivets for a rib that would be so easily created and replaced.

Aircraft Spruce is awesome! The materials I ordered got here fast and were packaged extremely well. All parts were taped to pine furring strips and were in great shape.

I checked the plans for the channel parts used to make T04-03 and T04-04. Then went to cutting. Just after making the first cut, I remembered that sheet AL has a grain, and I just cut it wrong. O well, I continued to make the part. I figure it will be good practice for when I cut the AL correctly.

I cut some scrap wood to size and bolted the AL to the wood. It worked, but not well. Glad this was just a trial piece anyways.

Then I realized that I needed to sandwich the AL between two templates. The second attempt came out much better. I’m happy with the results. The bends are not quite as crisp as the factory made parts, but they look pretty good.

From the pictures, if it wasn’t for the holes in the flange you couldn’t tell my parts from the factory parts.

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I couldn’t help myself, I had to install the parts. So happy to be moving forward on the build again.

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I still have not completed inventory, but building is so much more fun!